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The Question
by FR1 Community

When, if ever, do you run quiet?

We asked readers if their departments ever ran calls without lights and sirens

By FireRescue1 Staff

When the tone drops, some departments make as much commotion as possible to alert motorists of their presence. Others opt to run quiet and blend in with traffic for some calls. Much of this decision is guided by state law and SOPs.

So we put it to our readers to tell us how their departments handle the loud vs. quiet debate. We had plenty of responses, and here are 11 of the more interesting ones. Please, add your own in the comment section.

"We have some calls that we consider non-emergency. But if it warrants lights, then it warrants siren. Georgia law states 'audible and visual.' Too many lawsuits out there to not follow state law." — Jeff Bennett

"Never. That doesn't happen." — Rupak Paul

"If I had my way, we'd never use them. Inexperienced drivers get reckless and it doesn't enhance response time in the downtown area with all the stop signs and traffic signals. Sad to say, people don't respect them and freak out when they do see or hear them." — Gillian Hurlburt Cox

"Yes in ice and slick road conditions — for safer driving by us and oncoming traffic." — Richard Myers

"We run without lights or sirens if it's an humane call for like a cat up a tree here in the U.K." — Ray C. Smith

"We shut some lights off when its snowing hard because of visibility reasons." — Ernie Berry

"Any non-life-threatening run: CO alarms in symptoms, non-emergency EMS runs, trees down, discretion of officer in charge, etc." — Tom Lange

"As the officer, I won't let my driver use the lights in severe fog at night (too much reflection back into our eyes). We'll sound the siren as we approach intersections to warn other drivers." — David Rossman

"We shut it down in school zones — don't need the kids running out in front of us." — Michael L. Staton

"We have a causeway in the area that is over a mile long. It is two lanes with no shoulders. If you try running lights and sirens, the drivers you encounter panic and stop right in the roadway. With oncoming traffic there is no place to go. It's easier and safer to just slow down and turn off the lights and siren." — Ronnie Hinze

"Sure, all the time, on the way back to the station after a call." Tyler Sitzer

About the author

"The Question" section brings together user-generated articles from our Facebook page based on questions we pose to our followers, as well as some of the best content we find on Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including public safety. The questions and answers featured here on FR1 are posted directly from Quora, and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of FR1.


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